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Saturday, July 2, 2022

Law enforcement officers testify to the committee in the case of the shooting in Uvalda

UWALDE, Texas ( Associated Press) — The Legislative Committee investigating the deadly Texas elementary school shooting last month is due to hear more testimony from law enforcement officials Monday.

State Rep. Dustin Burroughs, who chairs the committee investigating the shooting at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, said they will hear additional testimony from the Uvalde Police Department, as well as speak with another school district police officer and a member of the Public Safety Department.

“We want to at least commend all law enforcement agencies for the cooperation and provision of the witnesses we asked for,” said Burroughs, a Lubbock Republican.

Following Burroughs’ opening statements during the committee hearings at Uvalda, the committee moved into executive session without allowing the public to hear witness testimony.

Last Thursday, Burroughs expressed impatience with the Uvalde Police Department, saying it was unclear whether they would voluntarily testify before the commission. But on Friday, he said Uvalde police officials had agreed to speak to the committee.

Burroughs said the testimony would continue Tuesday in Austin. He said he hopes to provide information on when at least the preliminary report will be made public.

On May 24, an 18-year-old shooter killed 19 students and two teachers at a school. Questions about why the police did not confront and kill the gunman for more than an hour, even though distressed parents outside the school urged the police to come in and panicked children called 911 from inside.

Law enforcement officials provided little or conflicting information after the shooting, sometimes withdrawing claims hours after they were made. Officials declined to provide details, citing an ongoing investigation.

Some are concerned that Texas officials will take advantage of a loophole in the law to block the transfer of the records – even to the victims’ families – after the case is closed. The law’s exception protects information from disclosure in crimes for which no one has been convicted. The Texas Attorney General’s Office ruled that this applies when the suspect is dead.

Officials have also failed to provide media outlets, including the Associated Press, with records wanted under public information laws, often citing broad exemptions and ongoing investigations. This raised concerns about whether such recordings would even be shared with the victims’ families.

Others with whom the committee spoke behind closed doors included school workers.

Burroughs defended the committee, which was interviewing witnesses in private and has so far not released its findings, saying its members want an accurate report before releasing the report.

Learn more about the Associated Press-covered Uvalde school shooting: https://apnews.com/hub/uvalde-school-shooting.

Copyright 2022 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or distributed without permission.

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